Council launch campaign to tackle low primary school application numbers for next academic year

Date published: 12 May 2021

Primary school applications are much lower in Oldham this year – and Oldham Council is urging parents and carers with school age eligible children to make their application if they haven’t yet done so.

Oldham estimates that 500 children aged four and five are yet to be enrolled into the school system for next academic year starting in September, 2021.

This is a worrying statistic as starting school is one of the key foundations for a young person in developing their educational and social skills to prepare for life.

Richard Lynch, Oldham Council’s Director for Education, Skills and Early Years, said: “Oldham Council has looked into reasons why people may not yet have applied this year before the deadline in April.

“Covid 19 has obviously played a big part and many people are out of their usual routines.

"There is a great network in Oldham that works with our communities but the lack of face to face interaction may have led to some families just not realising the need to apply for a school place.

“We are also concerned that some young people and families may face very different and challenging circumstances this year and may not therefore have been in contact with those who would usually assist with the applications process, such as nurseries and childminders.

“It is vitally important we reconnect with these families and give them the help and support they require."

Oldham Council is planning a range of communications initiatives to raise awareness into the need to apply for a school place.

The Council is working with schools, nurseries and children’s centres to promote how and where people can make their school applications.

This can be done online here 

If people are struggling to get online, computers and support are available at Oldham Link Centre and Libraries.

An Oldham wide social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will also be used to raise awareness, particularly targeting parts of Oldham where applications are currently the lowest.

Messaging will also be shared with community Facebook groups which include Love Royton, Love Failsworth, Love Shaw, Love Saddleworth and Lees

Mr Lynch said: “It is vitally important that people who need to make the applications as soon as possible.

"This helps schools prepare for each young person, including any induction days in the summer term as well as planning their budgetary requirements on school numbers.”

To find out more information and to apply for a primary school place, click here or contact Oldham Council's contact centre on 0161 770 4213.

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